Four beloved authors with all new fair-haired mysteries to dye for do.
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February 01, 2005
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Excerpt from Drop Dead Blonde by Nancy Martin
In the hope of starting a Christmas tradition that didn't end with throwing food at a sibling, I took my niece Lucy to visit Santa at Haymaker's department store. Afterward, we snagged the best table in the Mrs. Claus Tearoom on the mezzanine, where Lucy licked the sprinkles off half a dozen cookies and told me family secrets while we waited for her mother.
"Mummy says she has too much juice in her caboose right now, Aunt Nora, and she can't face Christmas," Lucy volunteered. "So she's getting a massage every afternoon from Jason and yelling about electrolysis and her chin. What's electrolysis "
After I told her, I asked, "What kind of massage does Jason give, exactly, Luce "
My niece was saved from ratting out her mother when Libby arrived. "Hello, darlings!"
My sister swept up like a zaftig Italian film star with her whoosh of auburn hair and a red sweater so revealing that three of Santa's teenage elves nearly suffered whiplash as she sailed by. She carried enough shopping bags to cripple a Nazareth donkey, and dropped the loot on an empty chair with triumph. "What a night!"
"Mummy," Lucy said with a Machiavellian gleam in her eyes, "Santa didn't ask if I was good this year."
I said, "We were very relieved. Waiting in line was beginning to feel like a perp walk."
"What about you " Libby skewered me with a look as she sat down. "Have you been naughty or nice lately "
"Santa didn't ask me."
"You hardly look angelic," Libby observed. "In fact, you have a distinctly postcoital glow. Have you been seeing the gangster again "
"He isn't ' "
"Because I just bumped into Alan Rutledge at the top of the escalator. And he's looking adorable these days."
"Does owning a department store make a man adorable "
"It helps." Libby fluffed her hair and adjusted her d ' colletage. "He isn't bad to look at, really. Rather like a teddy bear ' cute ears and that little tummy, of course. And he always smells divine."
My sister had been widowed twice and still enjoyed men of all shapes, sizes, and proclivities. With her uncanny radar for available partners, I firmly believed she could find an eligible man if she were cast adrift in the Amazon River. I said, "You got close enough to smell him "
"It was a friendly holiday greeting, that's all." She took out her compact and checked her lipstick for damage. "I'm not interested in him in the least, despite all his money. I need someone with more fire. But you've been a widow for two years now, and Alan might be exactly the person to bring you to your senses."
"Too late," I said.
She forgot about her lipstick. "Oh, dear heaven, you haven't eloped, have you "
"No. Alan's engaged."
"How disappointing! Not to Bitty Markham, I hope. Ever since her poor Stanley's little financial mixup, she's been looking for another meal ticket."